When the deluge had finally cleared away, the townsfolk emerged, dazed, into a world of downed trees, twisted signs, and battered shingles. There was no sign of Holly; a scrap of what might have been fabric from her red dress was found weeks later in a midtown gutter, but it could just as easily have been a magpie leaving. Joan’s shotgun was found on the riverbank two days later, jammed with a final spent shell stovepiped in the action.

None one ever saw the two again, nor was what had driven them both, terrified, into the worst of the storm ever identified.

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